Media-tions: Forays into the Culture and Gender Wars

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9780896084780: Media-tions: Forays into the Culture and Gender Wars

Feminist media critic Elayne Rapping takes such varied pop culture artifacts as soap operas, Madonna, and Amy Fisher to uncover a new paradigm of feminism's interface with the media.

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From Publishers Weekly:

In a collection of essays and book reviews from the past two decades, Rapping sets out to explore the impact of feminism on the mass media and popular culture. As a direct response to recent theorizing about a feminist backlash, Rapping refreshingly points to the successes of feminism, albeit within a framework of resilient sexism. Rapping begins with an analysis of Hollywood's women, families and men, then moves to her strongest essays in which she convincingly unravels the female fascination with and attraction to soap operas, talk shows and made-for-TV movies. Considering that daytime drama has historically been directed at and marketed to women at home during the day, Rapping argues, it only makes sense that feminist issues, such as sexual harassment, rape and domestic violence would appear here first rather than in ``higher'' prime time drama favored by media critics. In an especially insightful essay exploring the world of Tupperware parties, she shows how these community events enable women to confront social isolation, discuss local and personal issues, and offer a way for some women to gain economic power by joining the organization as sales representatives. Despite her avowed intentions to look at the bright side of feminism and the media, the book is heavily critical. Even where she does note that feminism has had an impact, she begs the question of how and why, suggesting only that any changes are based solely on consumerism and capitalist demands. Despite limited attention to gay and lesbian concerns, and very little attention to race and ethnicity, Rapping provides a much needed academic and political call to carry on the ideals and goals of second wave feminism.

Copyright 1994 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

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